49ers: Has Marquise Goodwin Turned the Corner?

As we have throughout the season, Niners Live continues to evaluate the performance of key position players. The focus is now on wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, as we evaluate his first three games in a 49er uniform and tell you if he’s getting better, still at the status quo, or if he is showing signs of regression.

 

Up Close and Personal

Marquise Goodwin and his world-class track speed brings attention when and wherever he plays, and such was the case when it was announced that he signed a 2-year contract with the 49ers in March. He was seen as the younger replacement for former 49er wide receiver Torrey Smith. He was part of the big free agent haul presented by General Manager John Lynch and Head Coach Kyle Shanahan. Most of the 49er Faithful salivated at his potential; and who could blame them? Goodwin ran a 4.17 40 yard dash. Just the thought of Goodwin breaking away from defensive backs on short passes or as the recipient of 70-yard plus bombs (seen in this clip), harken back to the days of Jerry Rice. We saw this potential years back when he played at the University of Texas. In his first three games as a 49er, Goodwin has gotten off to a slow start for a combination of reasons. While those reasons are not all Goodwin’s fault, it does speak to a pattern when considering his NFL career.

His First Three Games

Goodwin has played a total of 151 snaps this season; 97 of those receiving and 54 in blocking. In those receiving snaps he has been targeted 17 times and has 8 receptions which puts him just below 50% (47.1 percent to be exact) which gives him a grade of 48.9 receiving, below standard by any measure. By comparison, in 2016, he caught only 42.6% of his targets. He dealt with injuries in 2014 and 2015. In 2013, he caught 53.1 percent of his targets. So far this season, he has 2 official dropped passes in three games, which already ties his season high from 2016.

On the plus side for Goodwin, his numbers on running snaps are better: He receives a grade of 60 on running plays and his run-blocking grade is at 73.8 percent. While that is nice for the game, you aren’t given a $4.5 million dollar signing bonus from a 2-year $6 million contract because of your blocking acumen. In week 3, he finally came down with his first catch for 50 yards or over and caught the 2nd pass on a slant play that was good for 12 yards. During the opening week against the Carolina Panthers, he was overthrown twice on two potential touchdowns by Brian Hoyer. However, most fans remember the key dropped pass in the 4th quarter against the Seattle Seahawks, which would have led to the 49ers first win of the season. Unfortunately for Goodwin, the stigma of being absent in key moments has followed him throughout his time in the NFL.

They gave him a home where Buffalo roamed and well…..

For the most part, his time with the Buffalo Bills didn’t work out. He was brought up slowly during his 2013 rookie season, starting 1 game out of the 12 he played, with a total of 17 receptions for 283 yards and 3 touchdowns. In 2014, he played 10 games, but was only targeted 9 times all season, as he was mostly used for kickoff returns. His 2015 season was plagued with broken ribs and he finished the year with 2 catches for 24 yards. Last year, he set career highs in games played (15) receptions (29) and in receiving yards (431) with 3 touchdowns, but by all accounts, it was an inconsistent showing. There were even questions as to his desire to play football last season. In 2016, he tried and failed in his attempt to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Team in the long jump. He was even quoted as saying, if track and field paid the same as football, he would pick track and field (via Joe Buscaglia of WKBW.com). That has no chance of happening anytime soon, as Goodwin was suspended for one year by the United States Athletic Doping Agency for failing to properly file and maintain his whereabouts in regards to drug testing.

The Bottom Line Is

This, as I have said previously, is a year-long audition for next season, as Head Coach Kyle Shanahan is evaluating who will have a role next season, as the rebuild of the team continues. Marquise Goodwin has, for the most part, been given a pass, as his position was never challenged during the preseason. However, if this inconsistent play continues, there are others whom will gladly take his spot. Among those: Aldrick Robinson, who saw his snaps increase against the Rams last week. Many see him as the same type of player as Goodwin, being that he has great speed, but has been inconsistent. However, his advantage remains that he is more familiar with Shanahan’s offensive system. Then there is rookie Trent Taylor, who may not be the deep threat that Goodwin is, but has a way of getting open in tight spots and is a more consistent pass catcher, even at this time in his young career. Not to mention rookies Kendrick Bourne and Victor Bolden who are both chomping at the bit to receive game action. Thus, Goodwin has essentially been put on notice that unless his play improves, his time at the number 2 slot, let alone his spot on the team, could disappear faster than Renaldo Nehemiah’s time in the NFL as 49ers receiver.

Please join us again soon on Niners Live, the home of the faithful fan and analyst from an objective/analytical lens, of course.

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All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.comPro Football Focus49ers.comESPN.comNFL.com unless otherwise indicated. Author and new Staff Writer @NinersLive.net, David Edmondson.  Content Creator, EditorSequoia Sims